We Naiads of the Bypass (The Star Tarot)

Jericho M. Hockett

For my sister Jubilee, upon her gastric surgery

concede the unfaithfulness of water: our own
brightly banded streams sometimes
run pale, excised of blood and insurgent
stars—the same ones we studied in our youth
when neither obstructions nor corruption kept
our hope confined to rivers. Daily we filtered
fresh water, found radical sparkle within
our reach where we poured ourselves out.
We surged until after a time we grew
malnourished without rain. Years welled, an age, our own
substance oxidized, slowing us, showing us our bodies
are made up of molecules that swell
briefly as blossoms before the fade. We fell

for lovers in dark wells, feeble mirrors,
jealous of stars’ bodies who dim infinitely
slow. We grasped blindly to fuse our shining
crowns inseparable from our heads. Our false
lovers dissembled sensitivity then constricted,
postoperatively afraid. We went under
the knife, risked everything, tripping over
scar tissue toward suns whose flares caught
our dry eyes, mesmerized without seeing
that flame’s properties resolve to prevent
faulty lovers from calling us to bypass
our own transmutation. We who cleanse
were never meant to be worshiped

in captivity, dammed by repudiation.
We naiads of the bypass know dangers
of water, dry spells, and belief. Water’s
imprecision keeps all imbalance, as a flamingo
who stands on one leg sways less than on two. Water
beckons revenge, feathered spirit. Only we,
Nomia, can unblind the bird, survive
these metabolic rituals. We follow trickles
out of dark pools through back channels
to review new springs, flooding crimson
lungs, drowning Zeus with our sometimes
shining hands of water, evaporate as we reach
sunward to fill ourselves brimming as rain.




Jericho Hockett’s roots are in the farm in Kansas, and she blooms in Topeka with Eddy and Evelynn. She is a poet, social psychologist, teacher, forever student, and dreamer, most whole in the green. Some of her poems appear in Snakeroot: A Midwest Resistance ‘Zine, Pussy Magic Heals, and South Broadway Ghost Society. More works are always brewing.